There has been a lot of discussion in recent weeks amongst mummy bloggers as to whether or not we would be prepared to share poetry that we had written as teenagers. The general concensus was ‘no way, it is far too personal and embarrassing’. When I joined the discussion, I had just found my book of poetry from my teenage years and started to read it. I agree that much of it is very naive, about love and loss of love and the desperate nature of teenage romances. However, some of it is about other issues. It shows the common beliefs that you hold when you are young , a sense of injustice and the hope that you will change the world some day. I wrote lots of poetry as a teenager , helping to frame my thoughts and work through issues. As an adult I write them less frequently, usually when I am unhappy and still find it therapeutic.
I’ve decided to be brave and share a poem that I wrote when I was 16 years old – this was written in the mid/late 80’s when there was lots of scaremongering about nuclear war – remember the dramas about what would happen if a nuclear bomb exploded? It’s unedited and uses the punctuation that I chose when writing it.
The End of the World
Screeching! Wailing! Shouting! Screaming!
People run to take cover where they cannot be saved.
Heart jumping, legs quaking, head pounding,
I watch the sky for the beginning of my fate.
Then it comes, with no noise, people silent,
As we watch the air explode into smoke
See the world turning purple, red and yellow,
I feel sick, on my tears I could choke.
Bring my hands to my eyes and bury my head
To protect me from the great blinding light.
What’s happening? Help me! I can’t see!
Am I dead? Is this Heaven? Help me out!
Crumbling world all around me, dying people
But it’s all brought about by greedy men.
It’s the innocent , God fairing children
That are punished and have said their last Amen.
In my last few moments I remember a land
Full of green, much love and content.
See the earth slip away – not just my life
But a place, far too late to repent.
Dust fills my lungs and I crumble to the ground,
And though I am weak and my brain is concussed,
I still know how appropriate those funeral words are
of Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust.
I asked my 6 year old daughter to write something for me to share on my blog. She loves poetry and often chooses a book of poetry as her bedtime story. My husband taught her to recite ‘ Custard the Dragon’ by Ogden Nash, it was lovely to watch them doing this together and I’m sure it has helped with her expressive reading . She used to add in her own bit when Custard cried for his nice safe cage – she would add in a deep ,whiny voice ‘Boo-hoo I want a safe cage’. I think my 2 year old will follow in her footsteps. She often chooses singing books at bedtime which include a mixture of song and rhyme. Learning poetry by heart is such a valuable skill for young children. It covers so many things that are important for becoming competent readers, awareness of rhythm and rhyme, use of alliteration, memory and the use of expression to convey meaning. And of course it is fun.
Here are my daughter’s poems
Wrinkly and Grey
I’m going home in case you
Step on me on the way.
I love jewels on the walls
Crowns and diamonds all at the piemans
Money, money it’s so funny
Garnets and rubies at St Cuby’s